Spencer Cohen Series, Book Three (The Spencer Cohen Series 3)

 

 

 

 

 

THE SPENCER COHEN SERIES

BOOK THREE

 

 

By

N.R. Walker

 

 

 

 
Copyrigh
t
:

 

Cover Artist: Sara York

Editor: DJ Mack

Proofreaders: Jay Northcote, K Shanahan

Spencer Cohen Series © 2016 N.R. Walker

Publisher: BlueHeart Press

 

 

All Rights Reserved:

This literary work may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including electronic or photographic reproduction, in whole or in part, without express written permission.

This is a work of fiction, and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or business establishments, events or locales is coincidental.

The Licensed Art Material is being used for illustrative purposes only.

All Rights Are Reserved. No part of this may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

 

Warning

Intended for an 18+ audience only. This book contains material that maybe offensive to some and is intended for a mature, adult audience. It contains graphic language, explicit sexual content, and adult situations.

 

Trigger warnings: suicide. Reader discretion advised.

 

The author uses Australian English spelling and grammar.

Trademark Acknowledgements:

 

The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction:

 

DreamWorks: DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc.

Google: Google, Inc.

iPod: Apple Inc.

Facebook: Facebook, Inc.

Instagram: Instagram, Inc.

Honda: Honda Motor Co., Ltd.

EpiPen: Mylan, Inc.

Tylenol: McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc.

Advil: Wyeth LLC.

Avalon: AVALON Hollywood

How to Train Your Dragon: DreamWorks Animation, Paramount Pictures.

How to Train Your Dragon 2: DreamWorks Animation, Paramount Pictures.

Ray Charles: The Ray Charles Foundation

Jeff Buckley: Jeff Buckley Music Inc.

Nina Simone: The Estate of Nina Simone.

Bill Withers: Still Bill Productions

Etta James: The Estate of Etta James

Family Feud: FremantleMedia North America, Inc.

Jeopardy: Jeopardy Productions, Inc.

Bruce Banner/Hulk: Marvel Characters, Inc.

Dr Phil: Peteski Productions, Inc.

Audi: Audi AG

Cinderella: The Walt Disney Company

James Bond: Ian Flemming, Danjaq LLC, MGM, and Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.

Reservoir Dogs: 1992, Miramax, Quinten Tarantino

Wilhelm Kempff’s
Moonlight Sonata:
1965, Deutsche Grammophon

Ego and Swish of MAC Cosmetics: Estee Lauder Cosmetics Ltd

Speedos: Speedo International Limited

Colgate: Colgate-Palmolive Company

The Oaks: Royal Oak Hotel

 

Hallelujah
: Written by Leonard Cohen, performed by Jeff Buckley. Columbia Records.

Moonlight Sonata
: Written by Ludwig Van Beethoven.

At Last:
Written by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren
, performed by Etta James. Argo Records

 

Dedication

 

This series is dedicated to every
Spencer
out there: for those who have lost everything but still have hope, for those too afraid to love again but crave it all the same, for those who have been through hell yet are still strong enough to smile, and for those who wear their scars inked into their skin.

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

 

On Saturday morning, I was manning the reception counter in the tattoo shop while Emilio was finishing up inking some guy. I flipped through the latest tattoo magazine, humming happily to myself, when the reason for my happy humming walked through the door.

Andrew.

God, I could just drink him in. I was so smitten with seeing him, I didn’t really even notice the two people who came in with him.

“Hey,” he said, giving me a quick kiss. He looked just as happy to see me and kept his hand on my back. “Spencer, this is Shell.”

Oh, yes. He worked with Shell, which was short for Michelle. They both did visual animation at DreamWorks. I’d given Andrew tattoo magazines to give to her and had spoken to her on the phone once during the week, very briefly. “Nice to finally meet you.”

“Likewise. I’ve heard all about you,” she said with a smile, and Andrew rolled his eyes. Shell introduced me to the woman beside her. “This is my girlfriend, Wendy.”

I shook her hand. “Spencer Cohen.”

Michelle looked me up and down but soon grinned. “I can see why Andrew gets that glazed-over look when he talks about you.”

He pushed her arm. “Shut up.”

Shell just laughed. “It’s true. I work with him every day, and he never shuts up about you.”

He groaned and glared at them. “Anyway, Shell was the one who I borrowed the tattoo magazines for, and I told her to come in to see Emilio. Just to see about placement and stuff, not an actual tattoo.”

“Not yet, anyway,” Shell said. “But soon.”

“He’ll be free in about half an hour,” I told them. “Wanna take a seat?”

We sat in the little waiting area we often frequented for morning coffees and late night dinners, and Andrew sat right beside me and quickly held my hand.

“So what have you got in mind?” I asked Shell.

“Oh, I’ve drawn it already,” she said. “Well, the general idea. Andrew helped with body movement and that kind of thing.”

I looked at Andrew. “You did, huh?”

He shrugged and smiled smugly. “Like I said before, it’s what I do. Just Emilio’s canvases move. Mine don’t.”

Shell had taken out a piece of paper from her bag and handed it to me. On it was a perfect interpretation of Peter Pan. “Wow.”

“It’s pretty cool, huh?” she asked. “He’s always been my favourite character.”

Then out came another piece of paper. “And this one I drew for Wendy. We were gonna get them done together.” Shell smiled at Wendy.

The second drawing was of course Wendy from Peter Pan and Tinkerbell. I looked at both girls. “They’re really great.”

Emilio soon finished and joined us, inspecting the drawn pictures. “You really drew these?”

Shell nodded. “Yep.”

Then suddenly I had a great idea. I looked at Andrew and squeezed his hand. “You should draw something for me.”

Andrew blinked. “A tattoo?”

“Yeah,” Emilio said, nodding enthusiastically. “Totally. Then the girls can see how it works.”

“Yes,” I agreed. “I’ve been talking about getting another one.” I held out my arms, which were covered. “I just didn’t know what or where to put it.”

Emilio handed Andrew a piece of paper and a drawing pen. Andrew blanched. “Right now? For Spencer to get tattooed
right now
?”

I nodded. “I’m up for it.”

“Yes!” Shell cried. “You should!”

Andrew put the pen to the paper and stopped and stared at me. “Will you seriously get whatever I draw tattooed on your body?”

“Absolutely.”

He lay the pen on the paper. “Then I will wait and work on it properly. I want it to be perfect.”

“Okay, for a bigger piece that’s fair enough,” I said. “So draw me something super quick and small. I have a spot here,” I showed him near my elbow, the blank space about the size of a quarter.

“You’re still going to get it tattooed, though?” Andrew asked.

“Well yeah, but it’s tiny, and it will blend into the sleeve as a whole. Just something quick and small.”

He shook his head as he tried to think of something. “Um…”

Then Emilio said, “When you think of Spencer, what is the first thing that comes into your mind?”

Andrew looked at me for a long second, then he smiled. Putting pen to paper, it took him half a second to draw. Only it wasn’t really drawn, it was written. He turned it around to show me. I stared at it, and he quickly explained, “It’s a treble clef and 6/8 time.”

I looked up at him then. I knew exactly what it meant.

“It’s for the song ‘Hallelujah’,” he went on to explain to the others who were watching us. “The sheet music starts with that.”

I couldn’t take my eyes off him. I didn’t know what to say. It was so perfect, and he looked at me and smiled. “You like it?” he asked.

I shook my head, no. “I love it. It’s um…”

Emilio, oblivious to the moment Andrew and I were having, took the piece of paper. “Cool.” He tapped my leg. “Come on, I’ll do it now.”

Still not taking my eyes off Andrew, I stood up and went to follow Emilio. Except I only got a few steps and went back to where Andrew was still seated, lifted his face, and kissed him. “It’s perfect.”

I left him breathless and blushing and planted myself on Emilio’s chair. He had inked me many times so it was a familiar, almost cathartic experience. While Emilio got his gear ready, I sat back and got comfy. Andrew walked over cautiously. “Can I watch?”

“Of course,” I said, holding out my free hand.

He quickly took it. “I can’t believe you’re just going to get something I drew tattooed on your skin.”

“I love it.”

“But it’s really permanent.”

I laughed. “Yes, tattoos are. That’s quite correct.”

“Shut up. You know what I mean.”

“I do.”

“What if you change your mind?”

“I will never not love that song,” I told him. “And the fact you knew to draw it for me, that makes it more special.”

“Girls?” Emilio called out. “Want to come watch?”

Shell and Wendy came over and Emilio explained the equipment and the process. He positioned my arm accordingly, and in the small space of uninked skin, he tattooed the music notation.

Andrew squinted at me, as though he could feel the pain. “Does it hurt?”

I shook my head. “Nah.” He didn’t look convinced, so I held up the arm that was joined to the hand he was still holding. “If it hurt that much, would I be covered in them?”

He shrugged, not looking at all convinced, but he leaned over me to take a closer look. I didn’t mind because he could lean over me any time he liked. He was warm and smelled so damn good, but then he let go of my hand and walked around to Emilio’s side to get a better view. He was studying his handiwork. “Great lines.”

“Thanks, man,” Emilio said, not breaking concentration. It literally took him all of two minutes. He sat back to inspect his work and wiped the area one last time. “Done.”

I jumped up and walked over to the mirror, inspecting my new addition at different angles. “Looks good.”

When I turned back, Andrew was biting his bottom lip, all kinds of nervous. “You like it?”

I walked over to him, and putting my hand on his waist, I kissed his cheek. “Love it.” I sat down again, and Emilio showed and told Shell and Wendy about aftercare and how best to look after any tattoo they might get. I let him wrap the small area, and when he was finishing up, I asked them, “So? Ready to book your first appointment?”

They both nodded excitedly. “Yeah, for sure,” Shell said.

“Right, then,” I said, leaving Emilio to clean up his station. I led the two ladies over to the reception counter. “What day?”

They decided on the next Saturday. I booked them both in and took copies of their artwork for Emilio to keep safe. They were buzzing with excitement and decided to spend the afternoon at Venice Beach. “Andrew? Wanna come with us?”

He gave me a quick glance and shook his head. “No, but thanks anyway.”

Shell laughed knowingly, and Andrew told her to shut up, but he blushed, and that only made her laugh some more. I put my arm around him and pulled him into my side. “He has a much better offer.”

“I bet he does,” Shell said, and with a smiling kiss to his cheek and promises to see him at work, they walked out the door.

Andrew breathed in deeply before pulling away. “Does your arm hurt?”

Well, there were one of two ways I could play this. One, tell him the truth that no, it certainly did not hurt. Or two, play it for everything it was worth. “It’s a little tender,” I said, making a face and favouring my arm.

He pulled back, concern etched on his face, and took gentle hold of my freshly tattooed arm. “Really?”

“Yeah, I might need to lie down,” I said pretending to be serious. “And you might need to join me.”

Emilio snorted as he finished disinfecting the chair I sat in, which made Andrew look sharply at me. “You’re joking, aren’t you?”

“No,” I said, trying not to smile. “I need lots of attention of the fornication variety.”

Andrew dug his fingers in my ribs, making me jump. “In that case, you can buy me lunch.”

“Good because I’m starving.”

“And we need to go back to the music shop,” he said. “Because as good as the Jeff Buckley album is, there’s only so many times you can listen to it.”

I gasped, faking offence. “You wound me. There
is
only so many times you can listen to it, and that number is infinity.”

“Infinity is not a number.”

“Yes it is.” I walked to the door and opened it, waiting for him to walk out first. “After you.”

“You have to pick me a new album to listen to this week,” Andrew said, then he stopped and turned back to Emilio. “Oh, Emilio? Want us to grab you anything to eat?”

Emilio glanced quickly at me, then smiled and nodded slowly. “Yeah, that’d be great. Thanks.”

I put my arm around Andrew’s shoulders and dragged him out the door. “Don’t try sucking up to my friends. Emilio will always agree with me. Infinity
is
a number.”

We could hear Emilio chuckling as the door closed behind us, and I smiled all the way up to the burger joint, with Andrew under my arm and a little piece of him freshly inked into my skin.

 

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